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What Are Ushpizin? 

Ushpizin, the Aramaic word for “guests,” traditionally refers to the Biblical forefathers who visit us in spirit each evening over the seven-day period of Sukkot. Each patriarch enters the sukkah—the leafy, three-walled structure we eat our meals in during this period—and dines with us as a guest, and each is associated with a different aspect of Divine energy. 

The traditional order of patriarch ushpizin is: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David.Over the past few decades, many Jews have begun adding some of the Biblical matriarchs to the Ushpizin guest list, as it remains important for us to connect with a broadly-gendered assemblage of our ancestors. And, we don’t have to stick to Biblical ancestors alone. Who are our broader cultural ancestors, those who no longer walk among us but who have had an impact on our lives?

You can also use the nights of Sukkot to host friends and family in your sukkah, welcoming your loved ones to bring their fullest selves.

Source :
Sukkot Illustration

Art from Seeker Season: 2020 Guide for the Curious and Courageous by Jessica Tamar Deutsch 



Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Turn & Return Holiday Booklet

Ushpizin Blessing

Adonai, may You spread your sukkah of peace over our heads

Like an eagle protecting its nest

May our exalted guests [names of ushpizin] sit with us this night

And comfort us with their ancestral wisdom 

May we be blessed with their presence

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Turn & Return Holiday Booklet

Sarah: famously pregnant at the age of 90, she became the “mother of nations” 

Rebecca: a wily woman, she helped trick her husband Isaac into giving their younger son Jacob the blessing of the firstborn 

Rachel: beloved wife of Jacob, she was also crafty enough to hide her father’s idols from him 

Judith: she liberated her city from siege by beheading the enemy general, Holofernes 

Miriam: sister of Moses, she sang and played the timbrel at the Sea of Reeds

Deborah: a prophetess and the only female judge mentioned in the Torah

Hannah: she literally invented spontaneous, personal prayer (even before Rabbi Nachman!)

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Turn & Return Holiday Booklet

Emma Goldman: anarchist activist who famously said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” 

Octavia Butler: a Black science fiction writer whose dream of writing bestsellers came true, she wrote that “the only lasting truth is change”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: notoriously beloved first Jewish female Supreme Court Justice 

John Lewis: a Civil Rights legend, he coined the term “good trouble” and served in the House of Representatives, winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011

Carrie Fisher: beyond her star-making turn in a galaxy far far away, she spoke candidly about her experiences with bipolar disorder and addiction 

Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz: the founder of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, she grounded her activism in Jewish values 

Grace Lee Boggs: instrumental in revitalizing community leadership in Detroit, she wrote and spoke about changing yourself to change the world with her husband, James

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Turn & Return Holiday Booklet

With such an assortment of special guests in your sukkah or at your table, you may be wondering what topics of conversation will both honor their legacies and keep your flesh-and-blood guests engaged. We’ve got you covered with a few suggestions: 

What are your hopes and dreams for 5783? What kind of world do you want to see? 

What lessons from the values and lives of your ushpizin still resonate today? 

What questions would you most like to ask your ushpizin?

Sukkot & Simchat Torah

During Sukkot, we recreate the traditional ushpizin ceremony in which biblical figures - and their corresponding divine attributes - are symbolically invited into the sukkah, each day commemorating a new set of figures and attributes.

Day 1:

We welcome Abraham and Sarah + chesed, loving kindness.

Day 2:

We welcome Issac and Miriam  + gevurah, strength.

Day 3:

We welcome Jacob and Deborah + tiferet, splendor.

Day 4:

We welcome Joseph and Avigail + netzah, eternity.

Day 5:

We welcome Moses and Hannah + hod, glory.

Day 6:

We welcome Aaron and Huldah + yesod, foundation.

Day 7:

We welcome David and Esther + malkhut, royalty.


Durante Sucot recreamos la ceremonia tradicional de ushpizin en la que las figuras bíblicas - y sus correspondientes atributos divinos - son invitados simbólicamente a la sucá, cada día conmemorando un nuevo conjunto de figuras y atributos.

Día 1:

Damos la bienvenida a Abraham y Sara + jesed, bondad.

Día 2:

Damos la bienvenida a Isaac y Miriam + gevurá, fuerza.

Día 3:

Damos la bienvenida a Jacob y Deborah + tiferet, esplendor.

Día 4:

Damos la bienvenida a José y Avigail + netzá, la eternidad.

Día 5:

Damos la bienvenida a Moisés y Ana + jod, gloria.

Día 6:

Damos la bienvenida a Aarón y Hulda + yesod, fundación.

Día 7:

Damos la bienvenida a David y Esther + malkhut, realeza.



  •  What makes me feel welcomed in a new environment? Why?
  •  When a guest comes to my house, what do I hope they notice first? Why?
  •  What concrete actions can I take to make my home open to others?
  •  How could I have been more hospitable to others this past year?
  •  What does it mean to be a generous host?
  •  What does it mean to be a gracious guest?
  •  Which Ushpizin and attributes do I connect with the most today?
  •  Which Ushpizin and attributes do I want to emulate in the future?
  •  In what ways can I be a more generous host and gracious guest in the future?
  •  What can Sukkot teach us about compassion towards displaced people (immigrants, houseless individuals, refugees and stateless populations)?
  •  What are ways in which my community has turned its back to those in need?
  •  What are ways in which we can be more compassionate and hospitable towards others in the future?


  •  ¿Qué me hace sentir bienvenido en un lugar nuevo? ¿Por qué?
  •  Cuando un invitado viene a mi casa, ¿qué espero que noten primero?
  •  ¿Qué acciones puedo tomar para que mi hogar sea más abierto a los demás?
  •  ¿Cómo pude haber sido más hospitalario con los demás el año pasado?
  •  ¿Qué significa ser un anfitrión generoso?
  •  ¿Qué significa ser un invitado amable?
  •  ¿Con qué ushpizin y atributos me conecto más hoy?
  •  ¿Qué ushpizin y atributos quiero emular en el futuro?
  •  ¿De qué manera puedo ser un anfitrión más generoso y un huésped más amable en el futuro?
  •  ¿Qué nos puede enseñar Sucot sobre la compasión hacia las personas desplazadas (inmigrantes, personas sin hogar, refugiados, etc.)?
  •  ¿Cuáles son las formas en las que mi comunidad ha dado la espalda a los necesitados?
  •  ¿Cuáles son las formas en que podemos ser más compasivos y hospitalarios con los demás en el futuro?
Source :
Holiness is Everywhere

Art from Seeker Season: 2020 Guide for the Curious and Courageous by Jessica Tamar Deutsch